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  • Writer's pictureLinda Campbell

Cultural Hypnosis: Unlearning to Discover Your True Self

"The world is not what you see, it's what you be." — Ethan Campbell, age 4 (my son)

All human beings are exposed to cultural hypnosis in the sense that we all receive "messages" from a variety of sources, typically when we are vulnerable or "suggestible," and these messages form the basis of our belief systems. From the moment we are born, we are essentially told what to believe.

The Influence of Parents and Family

Our parents, through words and behaviors, tell us what is right and wrong and which values are important. They pass on their biases, preferences, prejudices, and beliefs. They teach us the roles of men, women, and children. As children, we soak up the messages we get directly and indirectly from our parents. We follow spoken and unspoken family rules, learn and keep family secrets, and notice what our parents reward or punish. We mimic their habits, behaviors, coping mechanisms, and emotional expressions.

The Role of Education

When we go to school, our teachers tell us what we must do or know to "pass." The curriculum, chosen for us, becomes our world view without us questioning its accuracy or the agenda behind it. Our classmates influence us with ideas about what is fashionable, acceptable, "cool," and "in." This social pressure makes us strive to fit in and belong, a crucial survival mechanism from an evolutionary perspective.

Workplace and Social Interactions

As we mature, bosses evaluate our effectiveness, talents, skills, and productivity. Significant others convey what traits are attractive and desirable. Throughout our lives, we receive messages from various people—parents, teachers, friends, spouses, bosses, siblings, and neighbors.

Societal Messages

Beyond personal interactions, society bombards us with messages through the media, church, medical profession, and politicians. Advertising, religious texts, news programs, movies, reality TV, social media, and sitcoms shape our perceptions of what to buy, how to live, and what to value or fear. We rarely question the origins or intentions behind these messages, accepting them as truths about who we should be and what we should aspire to.

The Complexity of Cultural Messages

The messages we receive are often skewed by the belief systems, cultural backgrounds, and biases of the people around us. Societal messages are influenced by the times. For instance, consider the differing messages about drug use, sex, and smoking from the 1970s to today. Our cultural climate is always changing, and messages from different eras can conflict with current beliefs.

Reflecting on Personal Beliefs

Consider some of the messages you've received regarding:

  • The ideal body shape

  • People of other races or cultures (stereotypes)

  • Homosexuality

  • Money

  • God

Where did these beliefs or messages come from? Can you trace them to a specific person? Are they a result of cultural exposure or personal experiences?

The Process of Dehypnosis

Because of the profound impact of those around us, a hypnotic session is often more about dehypnosis than hypnosis. It involves enabling a client to form and stay true to their own beliefs, even if they run counter to previously accepted messages or cultural norms. It’s about removing or no longer being influenced by harmful, limiting, counter-productive, or outdated messages.

By understanding and addressing the cultural hypnosis we are subjected to, we can begin to unlearn and deprogram the limiting beliefs that have been imposed on us. This journey of self-discovery allows us to embrace our true selves and live more authentic, fulfilling lives.

At The Horizon Center, we help clients navigate this complex web of cultural hypnosis. Our Whole Brain Hypnotherapy Certification Training is designed to empower you to break free from limiting beliefs and embrace your true potential. Contact us today to learn more about how our program can help you and your clients on this transformative journey.

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